Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) passed away suddenly today. He was suffering complications from gallbladder surgery and died at a Virginia hospital.
U.S. Rep. John Murtha, an influential critic of the Iraq War whose congressional career was shadowed by questions about his ethics, died Monday. He was 77.
The Pennsylvania Democrat had been suffering complications from gallbladder surgery. He died at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Va., spokesman Matthew Mazonkey said.
About his love for federal pork projects…
Murtha was a perennial target of critics of so-called pay-to-play politics. He routinely drew the attention of ethical watchdogs with off-the-floor activities from his entanglement in the Abscam corruption probe three decades ago to the more recent scrutiny of the connection between special-interest spending known as earmarks and the raising of cash for campaigns.
Murtha defended the practice of earmarking. The money, he said, benefited his constituents.
Murtha became chairman of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee in 1989. The same year Paul Magliocchetti, a former subcommittee staffer, left Capitol Hill to found the now-defunct PMA Group. The lobbying firm, which specialized in obtaining earmarks for defense contractors, was one Murtha’s biggest sources of campaign cash.
Bill Russell, the GOP challenger for Murtha’s House seat this year, posted the following on the home page of his political site today.
On behalf of Kasia and our entire family, I want to express our deepest sympathy on the passing of Congressman John Murtha. Today’s news will be met with profound sadness by the hundreds of thousands of constituents he served in Johnstown and throughout the 12th Congressional District.
To Joyce, their children and grandchildren, we extend our heartfelt respect as you honor Mr. Murtha’s memory and reflect on his legacy in the upcoming days and months.
Lt. Colonel USAR (ret)
Michelle Malkin posts a bit on Murtha’s history and his politics, but stays ever classy – as will we. Our sympathy to Murtha’s family.
A special election to fill the seat left vacant by the passing of Murtha, will probably be held on May 18.
Before this development, a pair of little-known Democrats were already challenging Murtha in the primary: Ryan Bucchianeri and Ron Mackell, Jr. On the Republican side, Tim Burns and Bill Russell were competing for the GOP nomination.
In 2008, Russell ran against Murtha and got 42 percent of the vote (polling earlier in the race showed him closer), holding Murtha to 58 percent. That was the smallest percentage for Murtha since 1974.